Freethinking, Unique, and Fabulous
On Friday 2nd September, Gareth and I headed down to St Leonard’s. We were attending the second (Freethinking, Unique, and Fabulous aka FUF) Frock Up Friday festival. We were unable to go last year as we were at a wedding all day, although we did make an appearance via Zoom. What is ‘Frock Up Friday’, you may ask.
It all started during lockdown when Bev Francis and Susan Simms set up a group on Facebook to get friends out of their PJs on a Friday and, well, Frock Up encouraging Freethinking, Unique, and Fabulous behaviour in the process. The group quickly exploded and grew to 10K members from far and wide; this has now increased to over 15K members. A weekly dress theme inspires members to frock up as they so wish, take photos (it doesn’t need to be on a Friday), and then post photos into the group. Usually, with a comment explaining the outfit, their latest ‘chazza’ shop bargain etc.
Boas, Sequins, and Sparkle
Everyone dresses how they want to dress, which is wonderful. I’ve seen so many incredible creations from trans women looking fabulous wearing the most flamboyant dresses, to others in 50s dresses, sequins, and feather boas. Gareth and myself love wearing latex and then there’s everything you can think of in between, except for underwear, lingerie, and budgie smugglers and bikinis.
It’s not just about the dressing up though, it’s the community spirit. The support and the encouragement for members to simply take selfies, or start to dress in ‘public’ how they want to dress.
Bev and Susie organised the first FUF Festival in 2021, which, as mentioned already, we were unable to attend. As such, we bought tickets to attend in 2022 as soon as they were released.
What an incredible weekend we had meeting so many friends we’ve made in the group in person. A pure explosion of creative talent, inclusion, joy, support, positivity, and fabulousness.
It all kick-started on Friday night with cabaret.
I delivered a welcome talk on the Saturday morning, wearing a latex dress. It was baking hot though. I was melting so much that Gareth was mopping my legs with blue catering paper towels. So attractive.
There was then an awesome parade along the sea front with everyone dressed up. I must admit though I was more dressed down. I’d done my bit in my latex dress barely balancing in stiletto heels and was happy to change into a loose pair of wide-legged trousers, a sleeveless top and flat trainers. I also don’t possess elaborate outfits to match those worn by so many. That said, it’s not about that – it’s about wearing what you want to wear, whatever that may be!
Saturday night saw an evening packed with entertainment, live bands, poets, and DJs. We even had a mock wedding to celebrate Emma and Craig who, having met in the group, had recently married in Las Vegas.
This fabulous weekend was finished off with a ‘Sparkle Swim’ on the Sunday morning. Sadly, as we had to check out of our fab Airbnb accommodation, we weren’t able to join in. We did head along and watch from the beach though. We had previously managed a couple of sea swims of our own whilst we were there – that morning and Saturday afternoon.
We loved exploring St Leonard’s and enjoyed eating Lebanese / Syrian food and Nepalese too.
So much to do and so little time.
Being with the ‘FUF’ group was amazing – members flew in from Tel Aviv, the US, Tenerife and from all corners of the UK too.
I am thrilled to be a part of this incredible group and was honoured to celebrate all of the above during my speech and share my ‘APE’ Mindset Methodology: Accepting what you can and can’t change, shifting your Perspective, and channelling your Energy accordingly. It’s fab when attendees seek you out later in the day to talk about it further too. 😍
Bev and Susie are up for a BBC Community award, they were also interviewed last week on BBC Radio 4 Women’s Hour!
Two incredible ladies who are very well deserving of the award – the work they put into the weekend was phenomenal!
Bring on Brighton
And if that wasn’t sufficient, we then headed to Brighton to meet up with my friend and photographer, Suzanne Fells for a 6-hour professional photo shoot. You can read about her career change story in my book Shining a Light on You, How to Manifest Your Dream Job.
We had found another incredible Airbnb and our fabulous host, Janet was an ex-photographic model who, at 70, is continuing to live her best life. She designed and built her house within the last few years and was so encouraging in allowing us to use her roof terrace and other parts of her garden for the shoot. This was just one location in Brighton where we took a wide selection of photos.
The following morning, we checked out and, after 5 years of working together, I met the fantastic Fran Villani – IN REAL LIFE!!
Fran is the incredibly talented woman who created www.sarahjnaylor.com, my branding colours, and associated illustrations. 💜💙🌟
As I wrote my book, I wanted to update my coaching website, having had it built back in 2012 and it was ready for an overhaul; I wanted a new domain name too. I asked to be introduced to Fran via a mutual friend as I loved the vibrancy of the website Fran had created for her.
I’m really proud of it as it still looks fresh, vibrant, and, as I update the blog weekly, it’s alive with fresh content.
Fran lives in Brighton and as we were in the vicinity, it was the perfect opportunity to get together!
Massive thanks to Fran for all her work – please check out her talents out on my website and grab your FREE Transform Your Life in 5 Easy Steps guide whilst you’re there!
Firstly, I have to admit, that yes, I am knackered!
Secondly (although it really should go first) – what an incredibly awesome few days!
Our Airbnb hosts were amazing – so welcoming and friendly, making our stay so much easier.
Making the effort to travel and meet friends and contacts is so rewarding.
It is wonderful to be part of so much creativity and talent in such a supportive environment.
I’d would love to revisit St Leonard’s and stay for longer.
We were grateful for the weather as the forecast had looked awful a week earlier!
Loved the shops, the photoshoot, discovering new food. The list is endless …
And I am also looking forward to catching up on some sleep!